Week ending Saturday 5th June
European Under 20 Standard for Eoin Quinn
As Northern Ireland is a bit further down the road to post-Covid normality, there was no limit on spectators at the Mary Peters Track last Saturday for the Belfast Irish Milers Club Meet. Spectators always add to the atmosphere of an event and as Ireland starts to reopen more and more in the coming weeks and months, it’s something we can look forward to again at events nearer to home. Conditions on the day were perfect for running, sunny and warm, which really added to the enjoyment of the event and definitely brought the very best out of all the Mullingar athletes, particularly Eoin Quinn in the 800m.
The day began with the junior races and Mullingar athletes were very much to the fore. The junior girls 1,000m included five girls from Mullingar Harriers. It’s been over a year since these girls last raced, so they were bound to be feeling rusty but despite this, they really stepped up to the challenge and put in terrific performances, led home by Leah Geoghegan finishing fast in second place, followed closely by Grace Byrne (fourth), Adele Geoghegan (seventh), Caoimhe Byrne and Caoimhe Donohue. In the junior boys 1,000m, Jamie Wallace took the lead from the start and set a good strong pace, with Conor Sherwin and Conor Liston following close behind. With 250m to go, Jamie was passed but kept running hard to the finish to place fourth, followed by Conor Sherwin (sixth), just ahead of Conor Liston (seventh). Now that our juvenile athletes have had their first race in a very long time, judging on these fine performances, they can look forward with great confidence to their next racing opportunities.
Moving to the senior programme, Charles Okafor had his first race since last September, running in the 100m against some of the best senior sprinters in Ireland. Charles was unfazed by the quality of the opposition, powering from the start and despite finishing down the field, was happy to run 11.10 seconds, the fastest he has run in the first race of a season, which augers very well for the season ahead.
The Club’s middle distance athletes were out in force and it was a memorable occasion for most, with personal bests the order of the day. For Eoin Quinn it was a real breakthrough. Eoin finished second in his 800m race in a time of 1 minute 50.45 seconds, an outstanding time for an under 20 athlete. He ran a very confident race and was in the leading group from the start and actually took the lead on the home straight before having to settle for second place in a dash for the finish line. Eoin was rewarded with a personal best and this was inside the qualification standard for the upcoming European Under 20 Track & Field Championships. Eoin will be looking to repeat this level of performance over the coming weeks in an attempt to secure selection on the Irish team.
In the 5,000m races, Euan Lagan was first into action. Making the most of the favourable weather conditions, Euan finished strongly in sixth place in his heat in a time of 15 minutes 41.52 seconds. This was an improvement of over thirty five seconds on his previous best time. In the women’s 5,000m race, Claire Fagan was always prominent and finished strongly to secure third place in a time of 16 minutes 49.10 seconds. This was marginally outside her personal best, which she recorded at the same venue three weeks ago, but was another very strong performance.
The 1,500m races saw three of our juvenile members step up and compete in senior competition. Last week Colin Smith broke 4 minutes for 1,500m for the first time and he was determined to build on that performance. Colin was always in contention and finished sixth in his race in a fantastic time of 3 minutes 53.86 seconds. This is a huge improvement for Colin and now establishes him as one of the leading middle distance athletes in Ireland in his age group.
Diarmuid Fagan also had a fine run to finish in eighth place in his heat with a personal best time of 4 minutes 4.13 seconds. This was also his second personal best in the space of a week and further evidence of his development as an athlete with great potential. Ross Killalea ran a very patient and well controlled race to improve his best time by a huge margin of twelve seconds finishing in a time of 4 minutes 10.20 seconds. Ross can be very satisfied with this time, as he is one of the most improved young athletes around.
In the final event of the day, Cormac Dalton took part in the 1,500m A race. Cormac is better known as a 5,000m and 10,000m athlete but his current form is such that he is comfortable over shorter distances too. Cormac finished in an excellent second place in the race and recorded a personal best by 9 seconds with a time of 3 minutes 46.50 seconds. This was a very good confidence boost for Cormac, as he competes in the European Cup 10,000m in Birmingham, England this coming Saturday. It was a fitting end to a really strong series of performances from Mullingar Harriers athletes.
Jack O’Leary advances to NCAA Finals
Competing for Iona College in the 10,000m at the NCAA East Preliminaries at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville last Wednesday evening, Jack O’Leary had a place in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon in early June foremost in his mind. Keeping with the leading group from the start and always in contention throughout, Jack worked hard and maintained a very consistent pace, covering every move, and had enough in reserve to put in a fast 65 second final lap to finish in eleventh place with a time 29 minutes 1.42 seconds, inside the top twelve places and therefore qualifying for a spot in NCAA finals, the pinnacle of Collegiate track and field competition in the USA.
Good luck to Cormac Dalton
Everyone at the Club wishes the very best of luck to Cormac Dalton and the entire Irish team who travel to England this week to compete in the European 10,000m Cup in Birmingham. This will be particularly memorable for Cormac as it will be his first time to compete for Ireland as a senior athlete.
Construction of new track commences this week
With the improved weather this week, came the commencement of construction of our new all-weather athletics track. This is the most significant development undertaken by the Club in its nearly forty six year history and we really need every member to fully get behind our fundraising efforts. The new track will benefit all members, from the oldest long time members to the very newest and will continue to do so for many years to come, so we’re asking every member to buy a raffle ticket. The cost is €50 per ticket and the draw is limited to 2,000 tickets. You can purchase a ticket online at mullingarharriers.com/raffle or buy one at the Club on training nights. Please purchase a ticket and help Mullingar Harriers to deliver the new track.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.